Democratic Republic of the Congo - Kinshasa

Democratic Republic of the Congo - Kinshasa

Use High Level of Caution

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is located in central Africa north of Angola and Zambia and is the second largest country in Africa. The population is about 75.5 million people. Although French is the official language, Swahili, Lingala, Kikongo, and Tshiluba are also recognized national languages. The government of the DRC is a republic with a president as chief of state and a prime minister as head of government.

The DRC was at the centre of Africa’s so-called world war, which left the country devastated. Although the war ended in 2003, the UN peacekeeping force continues to monitor the unstable and volatile security situation. In early 2013 the UN was able to secure an agreement to end the rebellion in eastern areas of the country.

The infrastructure of the DRC has been badly damaged and socioeconomic conditions are bleak. However, the country is rich in agricultural and mineral resources and has the potential to be one of the richest countries in Africa. With national parks and wildlife, there is huge potential for tourism in the future in the DRC.

Currency CDF: Congolese franc
Language French
Capital Kinshasa
Recent Alerts 18
Latest Alert December 15, 2019 - DRC: Opposition Leader to Reach Kinshasa on 15 December

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Democratic Republic of the Congo - Kinshasa. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in the DRC.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in the DRC.

Cholera

There is a risk of cholera in the DRC.

Malaria

Malaria risk exists throughout the year in all areas of the country.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in the DRC, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives.

Yellow Fever

There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in this country. This country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for any traveller one year of age or older. It is recommended that all travellers 9 months of age and older have the yellow fever vaccination.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in DRC. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in this country. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever occurs in this country.

Schistosomiasis

This disease is present in this country and is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Sleeping Sickness (Type 1)

African trypanosomiasis (“sleeping sickness”) occurs in this country. Travellers to urban areas are not at risk.

Meningitis

Epidemics of meningitis may occur in this country during the dry season (December-June). Travellers with prolonged contact with the local population are especially at risk.

Zika Fever

There is an increased risk of this disease in this country. Hay un mayor riesgo de esta enfermedad en este país. Il existe un risque accru de cette maladie dans ce pays. There is an increased risk of this disease in this country. Hay un mayor riesgo de esta enfermedad en este país. There is an increased risk of this disease in this country.

African Tick Bite Fever

There is an increased risk of this disease in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Democratic Republic of the Congo - Kinshasa.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities, rural areas, or staying with friends and family.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in this country. This country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for any traveller one year of age or older. It is recommended that all travellers 9 months of age and older have the yellow fever vaccination.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Meningitis Vaccine

Meningitis vaccination is recommended for travel to this country during the dry season (December-June). Travellers with prolonged contact with the local population are especially at risk.

Cholera Vaccine

The U.K. NaTHNaC recommends the oral cholera vaccine for some travellers whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions. The U.S. CDC recommends the cholera vaccine for travellers who are 18-64 years of age and who plan to travel to areas of active cholera transmission. CDC notes that most travellers do not travel to areas of active cholera transmission, and that safe food and water practices can prevent many cholera infections.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Democratic Republic of the Congo - Kinshasa.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Anti-malaria medication is recommended for travellers. Recommended medications are atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Anti-malaria drug resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine has been reported.

Safety and Security in Democratic Republic of the Congo - Kinshasa

Emergency Numbers

112 Kinshasa, Linguala and Gombe only
+243 81-555-5944 Reporting crimes

At the time of writing, there is no country-wide emergency number.

Emergency response may be inconsistent and very limited. Remote areas may have no emergency services at all.

Personal Safety

Overall, the security situation is unstable and unpredictable in the DRC, and there is a high rate of crime and violent robbery. Risk increases after dark. Foreigners are sometimes the victims of street crime and armed robbery, especially in Kinshasa. Never walk alone day or night. Avoid showing signs of wealth, and keep valuables out of sight. Safeguard your important documents, such as your passport. Do not carry large sums of cash.

There is a risk of carjackings and vehicle theft so keep windows and doors closed and locked at all times. Stay on main roads and never park in unsupervised areas. Road travel can be hazardous due to poorly maintained vehicles, roads in poor condition, and drivers not adhering to rules of the road.

Police have few resources, are poorly trained, and can be corrupt. DRC security forces may solicit bribes from foreigners. There are reports that roadblocks are sometimes set up, especially at night, and foreign nationals have been arbitrarily arrested. Security personnel may attempt to detain foreigners and bribe them in exchange for their release. Always carry your passport and visa with you, however, if asked to show identification at a check point, show your document behind a car window. Check with local authorities to learn whether additional travel authorization is needed for inter-country travel.

There have been reports of robberies by gangs of street children.
There is no reliable transportation infrastructure in the DRC, including road, rail, or air carriers certified in the DRC.

Exercise extreme caution if driving in the DRC. The incidence of road accidents is high. Road travel is dangerous due to poor road conditions, debris, poorly maintained vehicles and reckless driving. Do not Avoid travel after dark. During the rainy season, many roads may be impassable due to flooding and washouts.

You can be detained for taking pictures of public places and government buildings, including the international airport in Kinshasa. When passing a government installation during the raising or lowering of the DRC flag (about 7:30 am and 6:00 pm daily), pedestrians and traffic must stop. Anyone failing to stop can be detained.

Be aware that you could be arrested, detained or deported for activities that might not be considered crimes in your country of origin.

Curfews can be imposed at any time, without notice. Always follow the directions of local authorities.

Do not use ferry lines as methods of transportation; ferries are often overcrowded and do not meet safety standards.

Tourism facilities are virtually non-existent outside of Kinshasa and telephone communication is unreliable.

DRC is located in an active seismic zone and is, therefore, at risk of earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions are also common in some areas of the DRC.

Areas To Avoid

All travel to the DRC should be avoided due to ongoing political tensions, violent conflict, widespread crime and the presence of armed groups making the safety situation very volatile.

Extreme Violence

There is a high risk of violent crime, armed conflict and kidnapping in the DRC, including the risk of kidnapping aid workers.

Political Unrest

Violent political and ethnic demonstrations have occurred and people have been killed. To minimize safety risk, avoid all areas of public gatherings and protests and be particularly vigilant and cautious during periods of civil unrest.

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